5 LA Foodie News You Need to Know
The last month has been a busy one for us all. We parents rarely get to emerge from the school year without a bit of stress with all the dance recitals, graduations, parties and celebrations. The end of the school year has its own unique joys and stresses and to add to the mix, the idea of summer stretches out in all its seeming infinity.
Friends, is it just me, or does anyone else think that the summer season has a really good publicist? What I mean, is that we are sold on the idea that summer will be so relaxed and leisurely. However, the reality is that we parents really depend on the structure of the school year to get any sort of work done and to steal a few hours of quiet time when we can actually think and plan!
Summer days are very long and it’s up to us to find all the entertainment and activities to fill those days with fun. For the kids, summer is a blast! Days at camp, pool parties and lots of ice cream. For parents, summer is hard work! Anyhoo…we are all in this together and we will make it work.
I’m writing you all from sunny Los Angeles where we are here leading a cooking camp at my cousins’ house. I don’t have enough words to express my love, appreciation and gratitude for my cousins and their beautiful home. We are so happy here, and my best girl is in her glory with 2 built-in sister cousins.
As for me, I’m loving all of the LA food sensations that I am learning about! We have been here less than a week so far and I have a few gems to share with you all. I’m looking forward to sharing more as the magic of the LA food scene unfolds!
I had never heard of this amazing style of food before but it’s all the rage here. Pronounced /po-kay/ and rhymes with “okay”, it reminds me of the rice bowls I’ve had in a Korean restaurant we have in Tarrytown, NY called Bibille.
Poke is originally a Hawaiian dish and has been influenced by Japanese cuisine as well. The word “poke” is a Hawaiian word that means “to cut into pieces.” It’s traditionally a dish that was made and eaten by fisherman who seasoned up the fish they caught and ate it over rice with soy sauce, seaweed and onions.
The idea is that you choose the makeup of your bowl from a set of options, kind of like a salad bar. The first part is the rice, which makes up the base. We had bamboo rice, and you could also choose from kelp noodles, white or brown rice, kale citrus salad and forbidden (black) rice.
You choose your protein next, and the difference between the Korean bowls we had and these Poke bowls is that the proteins are sushi-grade fish! Raw fish! We had the salmon, and it was gorgeous. I don’t usually eat raw fish sushi but I couldn’t resist the tender and melt-in-my-mouth salmon. You can also choose from tuna, tofu and vegetables.
You choose a sauce next to marinate the protein in, and the choices include a spicy mayo sauce, a citrus sauce, a sesame oil sauce and the one I went for the Korean Gochujang garlic sauce.
I chose to add cilantro, chili oil, edamame and scallions and my cousins added cucumbers, mango and other goodies to theirs.
The small size was plenty for me and I may or may not have had a few pieces of my daughter’s salmon. She thought the raw salmon was great for the first few bites and then decided she didn’t like it. I was totally fine with that since I didn’t know how raw fish would be for her tum.
Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food
My cousins go to the Hollywood Farmers’ Market every Sunday and pick up a few of Dave’s specialties. Lucky for us, they had done so this past Sunday so when we arrived on Monday they had plenty of the dish that I am now IN LOVE WITH!
As soon as I tasted the glorious foods that Dave makes, I immediately took to seeing how I could get my Dave on in NY! But, there isn't a way!! Also, there's no storefront, website or social media channels where I can shower Dave with insta-love!!!
My new obsession is his “non-spicy Tempha” which is a totally plant-based food made from black beans, brown rice, garlic, soy sauce and vegetable broth that is rocking my world. I’ve eaten it for breakfast every day and I am hoping that our supply can make it to Sunday without having to go a day without it.
It’s seriously THAT good. The taste reminds me of the fish cakes served in the Banchan array of dishes that come with a Korean meal. But it’s not fish! The texture is kind of like al dente pasta and is very satisfying to eat with the crunchy julienne carrots that accompany the tempeh.
All I know is that I cannot wait to visit the market on Sunday so we can resupply! I know there are more favorites just waiting for us!!
Korean Ice Cream
It was my cousin's older daughter’s birthday on Wednesday, and to celebrate the occasion we went out for ice cream in Koreatown. What I didn’t know until then, is that Koreans are known for inventing creative and incredible desserts. I think I need to study this matter further...snort!
We went to a place called Somi Somi which specializes in soft-serve ice cream with flavors that blew my mind! They have 4 flavors and every alternating week they offer a twist of 2 specific flavors.
I was vaguely familiar with the idea of 2 of the flavors, and the other 2 were a tantalizing mystery. There’s a flavor they call “milk,” which was like vanilla soft-serve but without the vanilla flavor, if that makes any sense at all.
The other flavor I understood was matcha, yet the other 2 were new to me. I was also kind of familiar with black sesame as a garnish, but I had never experienced it as an ice cream flavor! The young man behind the counter gave us samples and it was pretty good!
I had never heard of “Ube” flavor and it’s made from purple sweet potato! This was the one I decided to go with and it was the prettiest lavender color!!
Once you choose your flavor, then you can choose your filling, which is brushed inside the gorgeous fish-shaped cone!!!!
The choices were custard, nutella and red bean and I went for the custard.
At this point, I was a little overwhelmed with choices and I didn’t go for any of the toppings available to put on top. I wasn’t tempted by the choices, which included sugary breakfast cereals, crumbled cookies and coconut flakes.
The ice cream was incredibly creamy, and it’s so much fun to have ice cream in a fish-shaped cone! The only downside was that the cone gets very soft and the ice cream starts coming through the cone leaving you with a mess if you don’t eat it quickly enough! Small price to pay for this awesome foodie experience though!
I knew that the produce in California would be like 1000 times better than what we have back home in New York. But when we got a taste of these gorgeous little strawberries from Harry’s Berries, I seriously could not believe the sweetness.
They are so sweet that they taste like there’s sugar on top except there’s no added sugar...they’re just naturally sweet!
There are 2 varieties of strawberry; Gaviota and Seascape. Though both are delish, we favored the Gaviota.
Cafes and Ice Cream Shops
One of the things that I am totally happy with it is that there are cafes on every street. I can walk into any of them and be sure that they will have a delicious chai latte with almond milk.
I tried a turmeric latte, which I had thought was a chai latte with added turmeric. However, it turns out that it’s made with grated turmeric root and hot water rather than any tea. It wasn’t bad, and totally healthy, but I prefer my chai with added turmeric, and maybe cayenne and ginger.
As for ice cream, the flavors here are amazing. My girl favors fruity sorbets and she had a raspberry and rose flavor from Carmela’s that she enjoyed. We went to Ben & Jerry's where my girl had chocolate chip cookie dough flavor. And I might have had a small taste of my cousin’s coffee with cream cone at Jeni’s ice cream shop. Yum!
Friends, in short, we are enjoying our time here so much and I foresee both of us pining away for LA after we leave!
I’m wishing you all a good week and I’ll be back soon!
We have a “Cooking and Baking around the World” camp happening in a couple of weeks. Hope to see you there!